Sunday, December 16, 2007

those who buy those cheap xmas gifts rejoice!

If you shop at walmart which I can not understand why you would, think about this from adbusters.

Annie Wells / L.A. Times

Wal-Mart fired my mom because of her bad hip. At least, that’s what she believes. Originally hired for desk work, she was eventually asked to perform duties that involved walking the sales floor most of the day. Management did not appreciate her reluctance. Then, after several long weeks of recovery from hip-replacement surgery, she returned to the store only to be told that her position had evaporated.

So these days, my mom hates Wal-Mart. It wasn’t always this way. Years back, she fell in love with their prices, their smiling greeters, and their homey, family-friendly image. When she learned that a massive Wal-Mart was coming to town, she immediately rushed out to apply for a job; within a week of the store opening, the grandkids could already sing the company song.

Before long, however, her love affair showed signs of faltering. Brought up frugal, Mom watched with disgust as hundreds of mildly-damaged items were crushed to bits in the store’s industrial compactor. She bristled at the constant employee surveillance in the name of theft prevention. After several competent, agreeable co-workers were let go for insufficient smiling, even the daily team-building exercises that she initially enjoyed took on a threatening quality. She knew they were being strong-armed. She didn’t feel much like a valued associate, and certainly not part of any family.

Soon after her dismissal, I returned from a year living in the UK to find my hometown dramatically yet predictably gutted. My mom was left with one last bitter pill to swallow: although she had sworn off Wal-Mart, there was scarcely anywhere left for her to go. How many more ruined small businesses and barren Main Streets before the bloom comes off of Wal-Mart’s family-friendly rose? How much union busting and employee intimidation before repeating “Our People Make the Difference” is no longer enough? If the currently panicked pace of Wal-Mart’s corporate spin is any indication, we’re fast approaching that watershed.

The fact is, Wal-Mart has always had its opponents – activists who resent the ecological consequences of big-box retail, labor organizations critical of the company’s dubious manufacturing practices, and tight-knit (usually well-to-do) communities that fear for their small businesses. But these were never Wal-Mart’s people. My mom, on the other hand, definitely was, and she’s joined a growing constituency that has seen some very ugly guts through all of Wal-Mart’s folksy window dressing.

Mikhail Onushko


Tyler said...


Fritz said...

"...the company song"?

Bello Velo said...

think they are making a joke, "grandkids singing the company song" they will be the next generation of employees. like drinking the kool aid:)